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Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

Local writer pens suspense thriller

Friday, November 4, 2005

(Photo)
SIKESTON -- Anyone who remembers Sikeston in the 1970s may recognize some of the streets and neighborhoods depicted in Brad Bloemer's first book, "Shattered Lives."

But what won't trigger any memories is the murder mystery that unravels in the Sikeston native's work of fiction first published by Authorhouse in August.

"It's a pretty complicated story," Bloemer said about the book's plot. "It's categorized as suspense."

The first half of "Shattered Lives" is set in Sikeston in the 1970s with the second half set during present day in St. Louis.

"Basically the main character of the book, Rob Gipson -- when he was a boy -- lived next to a teenager who was abused as child," Bloemer explained. "A murder also occurred in the neighborhood, and a man was convicted and executed for it."

Years later Gipson's St. Louis neighborhood becomes the target of a serial killer, and he is convinced his former neighbor is the killer. The details are exactly like the murder he remembered as a child. When Gipson sets out to prove the state executed an innocent man, he discovers a cover up that reaches the highest level of government and puts his own life in jeopardy.

A suggestion by a college counselor prompted Bloemer to give writing a chance, he recalled. After reading Bloemer's thesis while he was pursuing a master's degree, the counselor encouraged Bloemer to expand on his writing talents, he said. "I had no desire to ever write a book," Bloemer admitted. "But I finished my master's program and had more time than what I was used to and I'm not the kind of person who can sit around."

In 2003, Bloemer began writing his book a little bit each night, and in nine months he was finished. Then he edited the book for six months.

When he finished writing the book, Bloemer began looking for an agent.

"It took six months and I had numerous rejections -- and that was hard," Bloemer said.

Bloemer finally decided to go with Barbara Harris Literary Agency out of San Diego.

"We marketed it to all the big publishers like Random House and others and couldn't get any to take it. Instead of trying to go back to square one, I decided to publish it and went with a publisher called Authorhouse," Bloemer said. "And what I'm hoping to do is generate enough publicity to get it picked up."

But with some of the rejections also came some good advice, Bloemer said. "It's a struggle, especially fiction," Bloemer said. "And if you've never been published, you have to be prepared for a lot of rejections."

Bloemer also credited loved ones for their constructive criticism.

"It was a big help to have friends and relatives to read it during the early drafts and give me feedback," Bloemer said.

A 1983 graduate of Sikeston High School, Bloemer currently works as the chief financial officer for Murray Calloway County Hospital in Murray, Ky., where he's worked for almost a year. Prior to that, the certified public accountant was the chief financial officer at Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston for about 10 years.

"My wife and kids are still in Sikeston, and I come home on the weekends," Bloemer explained.

Meanwhile, Bloemer said another book is in the works. And for anyone who's thinking about writing a novel, Bloemer said the only advice he can offer is to be patient, especially when it's finished.

"I think it's harder work to edit than to write a book," Bloemer said. "It takes a lot longer than you think."

"Shattered Lives" is available at The Book Bug and McKinnie's Grocery Store in Sikeston. The Book Bug owner Joyce Hagy said a book signing is being planned. The book will also be available at Barnes and Noble in Cape Girardeau in about two to three weeks.